Saturday, July 9, 2016

Hoary castle of Abo

If anything could express a solid, uncompromising spirit, it is the Slott, or hoary castle of Abo. One is almost struck dumb by the dreary monotony of its two long, parallel, factory-roofed portions, which, adjoining one another, are surmounted at either end by squat towers covered in the manner of cathedrals patiently waiting a spire. The bare white walls have a few square windows high up their sides; and a completely disturbing effect is increased by gaunt, unrelenting extensions at one extremity. This ancient stronghold, being under repair, did not allow of thorough investigation, but disclosed immensely thick walls, winding staircases, and floors supported by worm-eaten oak beams, such as also roof over the usual large hall and many lesser apartments. In a small adjacent building, which dates from the time of Gustavus Vasa, is a highly interesting historical museum. It were ungracious to depreciate what is plain and downright because of inelegance; yet, as I contemplated the main rude specimen of castle construction, I read in it results of Nature's harsh conditions. To any one reflecting on European civilization, a slow and gloomy far-Northern development but throws into relief the early established artistic feeling and joyous impulses of the South. Clearly, in Western countries knowing Latin influences, the harmonious architectural manifestations of feudal virility surpass the crude expression of untutored might in far-off Finland.

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